Language Learners at NIS
All NIS teachers are teachers of language. The central role of the EAL (English as an Additional Language) team is to support students in their journey of English language acquisition, and to facilitate teaching staff in their leadership of this process in the classroom.
We believe that any student who develops the ability to speak multiple languages will have a lifelong advantage, regardless of the order in which these languages are acquired. Therefore, we celebrate the wealth of new perspectives, beliefs, and cultural information which EAL students bring to our classrooms as these enrich the world understandings of their classmates and teachers.
EAL staff support students through their unique acquisition processes. We understand that although students as language learners may not be able to express themselves as eloquently as first language speakers, they are just as capable of rich thinking and in-depth learning as any other student. Although the process of acquiring a second language is neither fast nor easy, EAL staff serve as a support system for students and their families as they complete this emotional journey.
Note on TEMSC Certification: All NIS teachers are teachers of language. Consequently, those staff who do not have a Teaching of English in the Mainstream Classroom (TEMSC) certificate or equivalent at the time of joining NIS are expected to have completed this course within the first two years of employment.
NIS adheres to the TEMSC (Teaching English as a Second Language in the Mainstream Classroom) model of language teaching that explicitly teaches the language required for each area of study, and gives students the chance to experience contextual information and clues, analyze example texts, utilize talk-for-writing, observe modelled writing, construct in groups before moving into independent writing. Throughout this process they also benefit from the workshop approach which allows students to write at their own pace while producing rich texts.
For Reading and Writing, EAL staff aim to incorporate objectives into each Unit of Inquiry (UOI) to make it relevant, but also to combine Reading and Writing together. In terms of discrete Reading, EAL staff offer support such as Phonics and Guided Reading intervention; usually in small groups for those students with specific needs. Phonics support builds students' strength to segment and blend sounds in words and provides them with a toolkit that will boost their progress in learning English. Guided reading focuses on supporting comprehension and fluency, and enables students to focus on specific objectives. In addition, regular access to online reading such as Reading A to Z for reluctant readers is also provided.
Primary EAL Support: Students in the support program have tested at the Intermediate to Proficient level of the NIS English Language test. These students can communicate effectively in English but with some errors that will not interfere with learning. These students need support with control of their spoken and written language and comprehension of academic content. Support is provided based on need and intervention, and generally takes place within the classroom or in pull-out groups during Reading, Writing or Unit of Inquiry (UOI) time, and are determined collaboratively by homeroom and support teachers. Possible interventions include team teaching, small-group instruction, and one-on-one instruction.
Primary EAL Intensive: This program is designed to support students who tested between the Beginner and Lower Intermediate levels of the NIS English Language test. Students who are placed in this program are either new to English or have basic English skills that require moderate to significant support in the classroom. EAL Intensive students are supported daily by EAL staff. This may be ‘push-in’ support within the classroom, when EAL staff work collaboratively with the homeroom teacher, or it may also be ‘pull-out’ support when EAL staff work with smaller groups of students outside the classroom. These small groups provide opportunities for students to practice using language in a risk-free, comfortable setting. The blend of push-in and pull-out support will be determined collaboratively by homeroom and support teachers, and may take place during Reading, Writing or Unit of Inquiry (UOI) time.
Secondary EAL Support: Students in the support program have tested intermediate to proficient levels of English. These students can communicate effectively in English but with errors that may or may not interfere with communication. They need support with control of their spoken and written language and comprehension of academic content. This service takes place in the classroom during English Language Acquisition class. Students will be allocated to either the Language and Literature or Language Acquisition class. The Language Acquisition class curriculum is designed for non-native speakers and has higher direct language instruction content.
Secondary EAL Intensive: Secondary students are eligible for intensive EAL support in grades 6 to 12. With the high amount of content information and subject-specific vocabulary, students in the Intensive EAL program most need support in subject areas. Intensive EAL services from grades 6 to 12 focus on subject-specific vocabulary, reading comprehension skills, and writing skills needed to access the MYP and DP curriculum. This is delivered as follows:
- Students identified as needing intensive EAL support have EAL staff supporting them in their Science and Social Studies for eight hours every two weeks. They also have direct language instruction one hour a week during time pulled out from their language arts classes, where needed.
- Intensive EAL Support students are provided with additional support materials in their classes to help develop the language needed for core subjects and for academic interactions in general.
- Focus is given to the development of academic vocabulary, reading comprehension strategies and skills, as well as the accurate use of writing structures on both the sentence level (grammar) and the essay level (outlining, planning, essay structuring, etc.).
- EAL staff work with intensive EAL students in core subject area classes by developing and distributing support materials, supporting students during group work, and by occasionally doing small group work with students either within the core classroom or in another designated space.
- Report comments are provided on student progress and on specific language goals on the student's Provision Plan. Further parent communication occurs on an as-needed basis.